There and Back Again: A Story of Peter Jackson

hobbit-3-posterPeter Jackson endeavoured to repeat his Lord of the Rings (LOTR) success formula with The Hobbit series. A pinch of amazing New Zealand landscape here, two cups of epic battle scenes there. Throw in a dash of great music, and you’ve got 11 Oscars, right? Wrong. I’m not a huge stickler for the book. I don’t really care that they added in Legolas or a dwarf-elf romance. What I do have a problem with is the lack of humanity expressed in The Hobbit. The Hobbit tries to be a LOTR-style grand war against the forces of darkness.

The Hobbit falls short of Jackson’s goals. It’s named after Bilbo Baggins, so it should center on Bilbo Baggins as well. Apparently, this is too hard of a concept for Peter Jackson to grasp. I had a sense of foreboding about the third Hobbit movie ever since Jackson changed the title from There and Back Again to The Battle of the Five Armies. He changed the story from being about a hobbit to grand Middle-earth geopolitics, and that was his crucial error.

Don’t get me wrong, parts of The Hobbit were incredible. The Hobbit feels right not with armies clashing to determine the fate of Middle-earth but with profoundly human (or nonhuman) moments. The acting shines through, especially Martin Freeman’s Bilbo. Thorin overcoming his need for gold to join the battle for his people is incredibly awesome. Kili saying “I will not hide while others fight our battles for us!” Oh man, that was awesome. That could take the metaphorical cake for inspirational quotes.

Overall though, The Hobbit did not fail, but neither did it succeed. Jackson’s attempt to repeat LOTR failed, but he succeeded when he deviated from his formula and made The Hobbit the movie it should have been. Overall, I rate it 3 out of 5 Magic Rings.

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